Brothers and Sisters,
In the passage of time there lies great mystery and miracle. Allah (SWT) says, “Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day, there are indeed Signs for men of understanding,” (3:190). Oh Allah make us among your servants who awaken themselves from the lull of infatuation of the worldly life and become witnesses to Your signs and miracles!
As this lunar year comes to a close it is sealed like an envelope never to be opened on our journey of no return until the Day of Judgment when you and I will all stand before our Lord to account for every year, every day, and every hour we spent on this Earth. Allah (SWT) says, “Oh you who believe, fear Allah, and every soul must consider what he (or she) has sent ahead for tomorrow. And fear Allah. Surely Allah is fully aware of what you do,” (59:18). This verse invites us to ask ourselves, ‘Who do I fear? Who’s pleasure do I seek? What has occupied me? What has overwhelmed my thoughts and feelings? What is it that motivates me to act? Is it a matter that will serve me in the next life? Or will it only serve me in this life? Or neither?’ Indeed, tomorrow will be a day filled with joy for those who prepared for it and grief and sorrow for those who have procrastinated.
Sisters and Brothers, this year, like every year we have witnessed, had its many bitter and few and fleeting sweet moments as is nature of this life. Our Ummah suffered great tragedies and small victories. Many people were born and many have died. As this hijri year begins, so does a new page in our own life story, a blank canvas, ready to be filled with the blackness and whiteness of our deeds. Who will fill this new year with committing major sins and persisting in committing minor sins? Who will continue in their arrogance, envy and slander? Who will be among those who humble and purify themselves by accounting for their deeds? Oh Allah (SWT) make us among those who account for their own souls before they are accounted for by You!
We begin the year with a choice endowed to us by our Creator millions of years ago when He created our father Adam and his wife Hawa; choosing to grasp firmly to the rope of guidance and adorn our books with good deeds or loose our grasp and soil our books with evil deeds. This choice was made hundreds of years ago on the momentous occasion from which we derive our calendar when the Messenger of Allah (S) and his righteous Companions (R) migrated to Madinah, marking the beginning of a new era for the Muslim Ummah. On this occasion, we are reminded of the words of Prophet (S)’s uncle when he came to him to dissuade him from calling to Islam offering him worldly gains, “If you want money we will give you until you become the richest among us. If you want position and fame we will make you our dignitary so that we will not do anything without consulting you. And if you are seeking to be a king we will make you our king.” The Prophet (S) responded to his uncle: “O uncle, I swear by Allah! If they were to put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left hand in order to have me leave this call I will not stop preaching and spreading Islam until Allah reveals it or I die for it.” Peace and blessings be upon you, oh Messenger of Allah (S)! The greatest caller to truth! He (S) taught us to remain persistent in standing for truth, no matter the cost. Today, those who call to the truth are rare and even those who do have little of the patience required to follow through. However, his companions (R) followed in his example when they migrated to Madinah, leaving behind their families, wealth, lands, and homes seeking the pleasure of their Creator (SWT).
Hasan al-Basri, a great Muslim scholar, once said, “Oh son of Adam, you are no more than a number of days, every time a day passes, so does a part of you.” Let us take great measures to ensure we take advantage of the guidance that Allah (SWT) has chosen to bestow upon us by planting good seeds so that our baskets will be full on the day of harvest.
To be among those who will reap the delectable fruits of their harvests, you must first begin with an evaluation of our fara’id, those acts of worship that are obligatory, from salat to zakat to siyam. Should you find a shortcoming in their performance, be hasty in rectifying it. Second, cease committing acts that we have been forbidden from, repent to Allah (SWT) and perform good deeds to wipe away the evil of these actions. Seek every opportunity to do good as outlined in the Sunnah of our beloved Messenger (S), such as asking Allah to bestow mercy and forgiveness to the believing men and women, both those alive and those who have passed. Prophet Muhammad (S) promised we will receive a good deed for every believing person we prayed for as related by Obadah (R). Volunteer your money and time for the sake of Allah (SWT), which is an easy way to adorn your time with good deeds and earn the pleasure and blessings of Allah (SWT).
Third, evaluate your words and actions with a keen eye, the eye of a blameful soul. Each night evaluate the actions of the morning and in the morning, evaluate the actions of the night. Aside from developing a habit of evaluating your time, do your best to recite daily from the Quran. Start with the recitation of a few verses a day, so that you do not overwhelm yourself and give up too quickly. Every month or so you can increase the number of verses to ensure you are consistent in performing good deeds which is most pleasing to Allah (SWT). Keep yourself among those people who value their time and encourage you to do good by remaining connected to the Masjid. Be wary of timewasters; both people and actions! Be resolute in attending every Friday prayer, jama’ah prayer, and attending a weekly circle of remembrance and reminder.
Finally, become a person of thikr by grasping every opportunity to remember Allah (SWT) and send peace and blessings upon His Messenger (S). Ask Allah (SWT) for forgiveness persistently during the day and night for those things that you do know you did and those that you do not. Those who ask for forgiveness are those who fear Hellfire the most. Keep track of every opportunity to gain expiation of sins such as fasting the days of Tasooa’a and Ashoora’, the 9th and 10th of Muharram which are just around the corner.
Brothers and Sisters, let us take advantage of our every heartbeat and every breath in this worldly life to earn a home in the next life, the final destination and abode. Let us be among those whose hard work paid off reclining on the beds of al-Jannah surrounded by what no eye of man has witnessed, no ear has heard, and no mind could have imagined. Oh Allah! Make our last deeds our best deeds and the conclusion of all our deeds good and the best of our days the Day we shall meet You! Allahuma Ameen.
Sheikh Jamal M. Said
Principal Imam & Director